June 2023 LEGO News Roundup
Fresh LEGO reviews, a music video inspired by this website, and some great articles from around the web.
This month’s roundup is a couple weeks late. Summer is a busy time here in the Pacific Northwest — we try to cram a year of outdoor activites into about three months! I’m also slammed reviewing a bunch of exciting new LEGO sets which you will see below… I do hope you enjoy this (belated) newletter!
Brick Architect’s Artificial Intelligence Policy
In the interest of transparency and to further an important discussion about the long-term role of AI technologies in our society, I have added an AI Policy section to our About page. As always, we would love to hear your thoughts about our approach, or additional AI technologies we should consider using that align with our goals and values. The following is an excerpt of our Artificial Intelligence Policy.
Here at Brick Architect, we take pride in creating in-depth LEGO content that is written by humans, for humans. We also recognize that a number of Artifical Intelligence (AI) technologies can help us create better content.
Our Goal: Even with the introduction of advanced generative AI built on neural network architectures (such as ChatGPT), we will continue to write our own stories and complement them with great photography. If we decide to include AI-generated images or text in future articles, they will be clearly marked.
We are currently using AI technology in the following ways:
- Image Editing
- Text Editing
Lastly, as more and more content from around the web is replaced with AI generated content, we aim to continue offering rigorously researched articles written by humans. We’ve always include links to source material when appropriate, but we will make a greater effort to include more citations to reputable sources that help us write the best content possible.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts about our approach, or additional AI technologies we should consider that align with our goals and values. We would love to hear your thoughts; please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org — Thanks!
New at Brick Architect
- Review: #41747 Heartlake City Community Kitchen and #41748 Community Center
Let’s take a closer look at these two modular LEGO Friends sets that can be combined to create an even taller tower — are they better apart, or better together?
- Review: #10320 Eldorado Fortress
This sprawling remake of the 1989 classic is The LEGO Group’s boldest plea for nostalgia-fueled spending yet — Can five times as many parts make it 5x better than the original set?
- Review: #75290 Mos Eisley Cantina
Is this 2020 LEGO set worth adding to your collection before it (likely) retires later this year? Let’s find out by exploring the architecture, the 21 diverse minifigures, and overall value.
- Review: #40634 Icons of Play
Celebrate the 2023 Women’s World Cup with a new set featuring four world-class footballers — highlighting the way girls play. Let’s find out if the set can capture the essence of the world’s game.
We are working on a bunch of additional reviews which I hope to share with you soon. This includes three sets that will be released in August:
#42146 Liebherr Crawler Crane LR 13000 (Technic), #21060 Himeji Castle (LEGO Architecture), and #10315 Tranquil Garden (LEGO Icons).
Looking Back – Material Handler Song!
Last summer we reviewed #42144 Material Handler, a 2022 LEGO Technic set based on a type of heavy equipment that I was not familiar with. As the parent of a preeschooler that loves heavy machinery we love Truck Tunes, which offers a huge selection of songs and music videos about trucks and diggers.
On a whim, I reached out to Jim Gardner to see if he had considered making a new song and video based on this unusual piece of heavy equipment that is uniquely well suited to working at recycling centers. To my pleasure, he got back to me quickly, and provided both a short description of his creative process as well as some draft lyrics for a song about Material Handlers. He did caution me that they might or might not end up producing the song, since they rely heavily on sourcing videos of the equipment at work to create the final song and music video.
To my great pleasure, I discovered that they just released a new video and song: Truck Tunes – Material Handler. It’s a really fun addition to their catalog of songs for kids, and most of all it includes a ton of great footage of different configurations of Material Handlers in action. I am so glad that I reached out to him last year and excited to see my curious email blossom into an amazing music video!
Exciting new sets for AFOLs
A ton of sets were released in June, but only a few sets came out in July. Here’s the short list of new sets, all of which are aimed at adult builders.
- #21341 Disney Hocus Pocus: The Sanderson Sisters’ Cottage (LEGO Ideas)
While we haven’t been able to post our review yet, I can say that this is an imperfect set with a fairly high price point, but still has a ton to offer if you love the Hocus Pocus film that it is based on.
2316 pieces, ages 18+, $230, available now at LEGO.com
- #10320 Eldorado Fortress
We had a ton of great things to say about this nostalgia-packed set in our review. If you have even a passing interest in LEGO Pirates, this is an excellent set to add to your collection..
2509 pieces, ages 18+, $215. available now at LEGO.com
- #43222 Disney Castle
There is a lot of buzz around this updated Disney Castle which features a ton of parts in three rare colors: Sand Blue, Pearl Gold, and Light Nougat.
4837 pieces, ages 18+, $400, available now at LEGO.com
Are you looking for other new sets, including everything which was released in June? Visit the lego.com store. (Placing an order using our referral link helps support Brick Architect.)
Best articles from around the web
It is always a pleasure to highlight some of the best LEGO articles every month. I hope you enjoy this month’s best content from around the web.
The realisation that colours need to be easily differentiated in both the bricks themselves, and the instructions, mean there is an upper limit on the number of colours that could ever be produced (unless that constraint is removed).
Chris Clarke / BrickNerd
The following audio stories offer a deeper look some overlooked stories from our history. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
- Player Piano (57:04)
Coming full circle to the beginning of this month’s newsletter, here’s an amazing story that chronicles the attempt to create a machine that could make music… but using the technology of the 1970’s! It just goes to show that the impending AI revolution has been a long time coming.
—The Last Archive
- The Frankfurt Kitchen (40:22)
The modern kitchen with a large countertop of the same height and built-in appliances seems ubiquitous, but it was the result of a very intentional design process by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky to create a small efficient kitchen to help fill a housing gap in 1920’s Germany. This article starts there, and expands by exploring the ways in which these better kitchens managed to trap women in domestic roles while trying to liberating them at the same time.
—99 Percent Invisible